Each week during a home series OhioStateBuckeyes.com will talk with a selected member of the women’s hockey team. But one was not enough for this rookie class, so below are seven questions for the seven freshmen. What’s the story with Hokey’s name? How does Minttu feel about going to the Olympics? How did Rizzo go from lacrosse goalie to hockey forward? And Knapp grew up with how many older brothers?
What do you think is the strongest part of your game?
Hokey Langan: Seeing the ice. Being able to find my linemates really easy. Finding the open man.
Minttu Tuominen: Skating and shooting.
Paige Semenza: My skating. I like to take advantage of my speed to get around other people. And being able to see the ice and see who’s open.
Liz Rizzo: I try to work really hard and be a grinder in the corners. More of a playmaker.
Tina Hollowell: Definitely being a grinder and a hard worker in the corners.
Amanda Boskovich: Setting people up, being a playmaker.
Chelsea Knapp: I would say down low stuff and my butterfly. Moving laterally.
What do you think is an area of improvement for you?
Hokey Langan: Coverage, defensive and offensive coverage. The little things, controlling the puck. I’m holding on to the puck more. Just basically a lot of the little things.
Minttu Tuominen: I have to work on what I need to do in defensive situations. I got to shoot a lot more.
Paige Semenza: Probably the physical side of the game. WCHA is a lot different than playing on the east coast and it’s definitely a lot more physical than finesse here. I’ve been working on it.
Liz Rizzo: I can get stronger and need to shoot the puck.
Tina Hollowell: My dangles, stick-handling and shooting.
Amanda Boskovich: Definitely my skating and to shoot more.
Chelsea Knapp: I need to talk more on the ice and make sure I work on my stick-handling. I think that’s important once you get the college, you have to play the puck more.
What’s been the biggest adjustment in regards to coming to college and playing hockey at this level?
Hokey Langan: Going to college, it’s probably how independent you become. How many things you have to do on your own. Organization. And then in college hockey, it’s the speed of the game. It’s a big difference going from club hockey to college hockey.
Minttu Tuominen: The ice size is a lot smaller than in Finland, so the game is quicker and faster. All the players are selected to a team so they are really good. You have to play your best all the time. As far as college, it’s studying everything in English.
Paige Semenza: The time management – balancing ice time with weight lifting and classes and getting food. It’s come pretty easy though. For the game, the pace and the physical aspect of it.
Liz Rizzo: For college, just getting used to a big school after going to a boarding school that was really small. College hockey, I would say just everyone’s really good and a lot stronger.
Tina Hollowell: Just finding the time to get to academics and making that my main focus. And then in hockey, the speed of the game and the change of the pace going from high school hockey to here.
Amanda Boskovich: College hockey is faster paced. Everybody is stronger and it’s more of a physical play. Trying to figure out what kind of player I am and where I can help the team. And then for college, school work is a lot harder so I’m studying more.
Chelsea Knapp: College outside of hockey hasn’t been that much of an adjustment because I was pretty used to being away from home after going to prep school. But for hockey, you can’t get away with as many things as you can when you’re younger because there are so many better shooters. Everyone in Division I hockey is a good player.
What’s your favorite warm up song to get you pumped up?
Hokey Langan: Any slow song gets me pumped up. It makes me think and get into the game. Going on the ice, a slow song like Rascal Flatts, but warm-ups and getting ready “Party Like a Rock Star” is probably my favorite.
Minttu Tuominen: Anything by Taylor Swift and Rihanna.
Paige Semenza: It changes; it depends on my mood. But most of the time it’s “Follow” by Breaking Benjamin.
Liz Rizzo: “I’m Me” by Lil’ Wayne.
Tina Hollowell: Eminem, “Lose Yourself.”
Amanda Boskovich: “Remember the Name” by Fort Minor.
Chelsea Knapp: Any Nickelback song.
What is one thing you really want your class to achieve during your four years here?
Hokey Langan: Obviously winning a national championship is the biggest. We’re shown as underdogs a lot, especially to the Minnesota teams, and we want to prove in our years that we will become one of those top teams.
Minttu Tuominen: Definitely working toward a national championship, make it to a Frozen Four. Really show other schools that we are coming and we have potential so they don’t underestimate us.
Paige Semenza: Getting to the Frozen Four, but first winning the WCHA championship would be a big accomplishment.
Liz Rizzo: It would be awesome to win a WCHA championship and a national championship.
Tina Hollowell: I want four years of a WCHA championship and a national championship at least once.
Amanda Boskovich: All graduate together at the same time in all four years.
Chelsea Knapp: A national championship … at least one.
Who has had the biggest influence on your hockey career?
Hokey Langan: My dad, definitely. He’s been my No. 1 coach ever since I was little and he’s always helping me whenever I need something. If I call him and ask him what I need to do, he always has something to say … and he’s usually right.
Minttu Tuominen: That would be my former coach from the Espoo Blues. He coached me for six years. We’re good friends and he taught me a lot of things.
Paige Semenza: My family and my coach from NAHA (North American Hockey Academy). He helped me a lot during my high school years.
Liz Rizzo: My dad. He’s built backyard rinks since I was 3.
Tina Hollowell: My family – my mom, dad and brother. And one of the coaches that helped me was my coach from U-12 to U-16. He helped me step up my game.
Amanda Boskovich: Probably my coach from the Chicago Misson. He gave me a huge confidence boost which stepped up my game a lot, and I thank him for helping me play college hockey. He influenced my game the most.
Chelsea Knapp: Paul Kennedy, he was a club coach back in Massachusetts. He was my coach for my second year of club hockey out there. He was a really fun and competitive guy. He loved winning, but he made sure no one forgot why they played the game. He made sure everyone understood you have to love playing it every day.
Hokey Langan: What is the story behind your nickname?
My uncle gave it to me the day I was born, called me “Hokey Dawn.” He randomly thought of it and it stuck. It’s what everyone calls me now.
Minttu Tuominen: How excited are you to be going to the Olympics?
I can’t tell you. It’s a dream come true, but we still have to go there and play. Can’t be a tourist.
Paige Semenza: You’re from outside Scranton, Pa., has that place been put on the map since “The Office” has been on the air?
People now know where I’m from. I’ll say “I’m from Pittston”, and they’ll say “Where’s that?” and I’ll say “Near Scranton” and they’ll be like, “Oh, The Office!”
Liz Rizzo: How did you go from being a forward in hockey to a goalie in lacrosse?
I tore my ACL twice, so I decided not to be a field player and just stand in goal. It was actually pretty hard. I got a lot of bruises.
Tina Hollowell: Were your family and friends okay with a Michigan girl coming down to Ohio?
Well, no not really. My dad went to Michigan, my brother went to Michigan State and then I’m at Ohio State. They’re happy I kept it in the Big Ten though. My dad wears Ohio State gear … my brother, not so much.
Amanda Boskovich: You played in a triple-overtime game with the Chicago Mission to win the USA Hockey Under-19 National Championship. What was the game like?
It was intense, very nerve-racking. We were all just physically and mentally drained. By the time the third overtime came along, we just wanted the game to end. But it was definitely worth it and it was a lot of fun.
Chelsea Knapp: You’re the youngest with three older brothers. What was it like growing up?
It definitely toughened me up because I would always be competing against them. I would always want to beat them in everything. And we still do compete a lot when I go home. Anything we do turns into a competition.